On Wednesday, the Yankees conducted their first interview (at least that we know of) for the team's open managerial position. The interviewee was Rob Thomson, who has been with the Yankees in some capacity for 28 years.
Thomson recently served as Joe Girardi's bench coach in 2008 and for the last three seasons. He has been the Yankees' third base coach (2009-14) and held multiple front office positions surrounding the organization's farm system. Thomson is also credited with completely controlling Yankees spring training arrangements from top to bottom.
The 54-year-old certainly has the necessary baseball knowledge, and working under Girardi provided him with an inside glimpse to the advanced analytics utilized to develop lineups, create a rotation, and determine usage patterns of the relievers.
Thomson seemingly has the baseball side of the requirements nailed down, and according 23-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier, Thomson -- who he called "Topper" -- is "like a dad" to the players. Frazier, according to the NY Daily News, said Thomson is continually providing players with key information before games.
"It's almost like he knows everything the other team is capable of," Frazier recently told MLB Network Radio. "He's the most aware guy on the field for us."
Hearing Thomson is able to convey information to the players that they believe to be relevant and ultimately beneficial from one of the young players in the organization could be an advantage for Thomson. Yankees GM Brian Cashman has been clear that one of the requirements to be named the next manager will be the ability to connect on multiple levels with the players. Frazier mentioning Thomson as both a father figure and supplier of advanced scouting reports checks off key boxes, as Cashman likes to say.
As with other expected candidates for the position, Thomson has never held a managerial position with an MLB team. His managerial experience consists of a few games when Girardi was ill and the remainder of games that his skipper had been ejected. However, the lack of experience at the helm of a squad does not seem to be a major concern for the Yankees.
What remains to be see is whether Thomson is viewed as an offshoot to the Girardi regime. If Thomson is seen as another Girardi, that would not be the direction the Yankees will travel. Thomson would have to distinguish his baseball acumen as one that can develop a fresh managerial style and present Cashman with details of how he would run the club differently than Girardi.
It is possible that Thomson was granted an interview because of his longstanding commitment and contributions to the Yankees. If anything, it is obvious the Yankees believe he has value to the organization. The potential exists that Thomson will be kept in the organization in some capacity if he is not named manager, which is the scenario I expect to come out in the end.